That race was a wake up call for me - it took me almost 45 minutes to finish the 5K. Matt & I were the last ones to finish the race. I am smiling above, but was secretly devastated. How could I be so slow? Over the next year, I started running more & more, and eventually weight loss fell into place for me after I cleaned my diet up in 2006.
Over the next few years, I continued to run. I remember going to Planet Fitness in Harrisburg PA and pounding out mile after mile on the treadmill after work. The weight was falling off, and I weighed less than I did in high school. I felt great!! Until one day, I started experiencing soreness in my knee after about my 2nd mile on the treadmill. After this happened a few times, I started to realize something was wrong. I eventually went to the doctor and was diagnosed with ITBS (Iliotibial Band Syndrome).
The Iliotibial band, or IT band, is the tendon that connects your hip and your knee. Overuse, genetics, and an uneven gait are the usual causes of ITBS. All those hours on the treadmill + zero stretching finally caught up with me. While living in Harrisburg, I did still run a bit, but I could never do too much at a time. I took up other activities I liked: spinning, weight lifting, and my absolute favorite: yoga.
Couch to 5K:
I knew that I would need to ease myself back into running 3 miles, so this seemed like the perfect option. I'm sure everyone has heard of this concept; you start by walking/jogging and then slowly increase your jogging until you have built up to 3 miles. Here is the treadmill summary of my final training run before the race: 5 minutes of walking, 30 minutes of jogging. I was SO proud!!
I bought a foam roller years ago, but never committed to using it. Over the past few months, I have foam rolled my legs every day. 2 minutes on each side, 1 minute on the front, 1 minute on the back. Doing this every day seemed like such a huge obstacle at first, but it was literally 6 minutes a day. Piece of cake.
Sadie thought I was getting on the floor to play with her every time I foam rolled. So cute.
At least twice a week. I usually take classes or do a video from Do Yoga with Me at home. This was the easiest part of the training routine, I love yoga and have been going at least twice a week for years.
The below photo was taken at The Olde Mecklenberg Brewery's Yoga on Tap, love. You can see me wearing all black near the top left of the photo. Photo courtesy of Lululemon Southpark's Facebook Page.
Remember, I definitely do not have any exercise or medical training, this is simply what worked for me based on advise from doctors, physical therapists, other runners, and the ever-informative internet.